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The Freedom of Focused Client Care

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For many financial advisors, client service has turned into a series broken promises.  The best of intentions have turned into sloppy messes.  They are heaps of confusing, conflicting activities…poorly designed and impossible to execute.

Why?

It usually starts with too many clients.  And continues with mazes of perplexing clients segments.  In the end, there aren’t enough hours in the day to keep up.

The freedom that should come with a healthy, growing business turns into ulcers.  You wonder…

  • when you spoke with a client last
  • where you’ll find time to return calls
  • how you’ll keep up with the recurring contact sequences you put in place
  • why you got yourself into this mess
     

The freedom to work with clients you enjoy doesn’t feel free if you can’t make sense of it.  If it becomes unrecognizable because you’ve layered patches on top of fixes.  If it turns client service into a chore.

In a client-focused practice, the client part should be FUN.

What’s needed?  Two things:  fewer clients and a repeatable service model.

Yes, that’s what I wrote…fewer clients.  More is not better.  The 80\20 rule, deny it at your own peril, tells the story.

Think of this as getting down to your core.

In recent years, I’ve worked with hundreds of advisors on this very issue.  From out of control teams with hundreds of tangled clients to highly specialized practices with clear focuses, the question remains constant:  Can you do more with less?

The answer is always a resounding yes.

  • Revenues double and triple as advisors shed hundreds of clients from their books.
  • High quality referrals stream in as advisors raise the bar to entry into their practices.
  • Sanity is restored when teams really get to know their most important clients.
     

These are all signs of freedom…financial freedom, freedom of client selection, freedom of time and freedom from stress.

This freedom can be compounded when you add a REPEATABLE service model.

A while back, I was talking with an advisor about his client contact routine.  He already bought into the “less is more” mind set.  Yet while producing well over 7 figures of annually recurring fees with fewer than 75 clients, he admitted to “losing touch”.

And now, some of his clients were grumbling loudly.

For the first time in years, he had just fought off an account transfer.  This top 25 client was looking for greener pastures.  A decades old relationship was willing to try out a veritable rookie at another firm.

The client felt ignored.  He no longer knew what to expect from the advisor.

The fact that this client’s portfolio was outpacing the S&P 500 didn’t matter.  All the time the advisor had put into this client’s financial plan didn’t matter.  The advisor’s 60, 70 and 80 hour workweeks didn’t matter.

Deep down, the advisor felt sure this revolt wasn’t isolated to just one client.

What was missing?

A disciplined client care ritual.  The time gained from managing fewer relationships had spun out of control.  The goal of more time for fewer clients had been dashed.  He was actually spending MORE time in the office each week.

What could be more important than spending time with clients?

So we implemented a monthly contact routine.  The idea was to dedicate a specific hour each month to each client.  With 75 clients, that’s been less than four hours per day.  More importantly, it’s a repeatable approach to client care.

His clients love it.  Now, they know what to expect each and every month.

In subsequent months, the advisor spent less time in the office.  He had a huge increase in referrals from his clients.  His year over year production grew measurably.

By applying the discipline of a repeatable client contact to a limited number of clients, he has improved the quality of his freedom.

I have seen this scenario play out over and over again.  The results are dramatic and sustainable.

Discipline applied to client care means greater freedom.

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